Former secessionist Madhesi leader CK Raut has silenced critics, who are lashing out at the government over the 11-point deal that brought Raut’s faction into the mainstream politics. The cynics claimed that the government recognised Raut’s party’s divisive nomenclature ‘Independence Madhes Alliance’ instead of incarcerating him behind bars. There were also raging debates whether the government accepted the referendum as demanded by his faction. Giving impetus to the conspiracy theory, one noted India scholar, in a tweet, argued that Raut could now push his secessionist drive through legitimate peaceful politics. But now all these gibberish talks have been dismissed as Raut has embraced constitutional politics with commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty, communal harmony and national unity. Following the landmark peace agreement, Raut took a series of dramatic decisions that did not only brushed aside all the heresies but also projected himself as a reliable leader who can match his words with action. In its National Council held in Lahan recently, the Alliance decided to register a new party at the Election Commission with the name Janamat Party. The word ‘Janamat’ had triggered much of controversies after it was incorporated in the accord reached with the government. Those standing against the deal interpreted ‘Janamat’ as ‘referendum,’ an argument that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had himself strongly refuted. ‘Janamat’ actually means ‘people’s mandate’ in English. Of course, referendum is the democratic instrument to express the public opinion over the particular or disputed issues roiling the nation. However, the very term ‘Janamat’ does not denote Raut’s call for referendum on the demand of separate Madhes. If so, the government would have outright rejected it as the national charter does not allow it hold referendum on the matters that directly weaken the sovereignty and unity of the people. Thus, it is better we ended this irrational debate here once and for all.
The positive moves the alliance took during its national gathering make the observers believe that Raut and his men are heading on the right path. Its National Council started with the playing of the national anthem. Everybody knows the essence of the anthem that unites all people living in the mountain, hill and Terai. It recognises ethnic diversity and multitudes of faiths that coexist in Nepali society for centuries. Likewise, the delegates to the Council had to produce Nepali citizenship cards so as to ensure that wrong people would not enter into closed-door gathering held to make vital decisions pertaining to the life of the organisation. This was the visible pledge on part of Raut to abide by the fundamental parameters of constitution and the spirit of national unity. We must welcome Raut’s desire to plunge into the peaceful and democratic politics, and realise the mission of his new party through the periodic elections. After all, Nepal’s constitution grants rights to any individual or group of individuals to open and operate new political parties based on the basic democratic principles and values. Both the government and Raut’s group deserve praise for the safe landing of tricky political agenda. This is indeed a very optimistic development in the contemporary Nepali politics and needs to be emulated by other groups involved in anti-constitutional activities.
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